Most people accused of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Pennsylvania get caught with alcohol in their bloodstream. However, driving under the influence includes drugged driving.
The police can arrest someone for getting behind the wheel after consuming prohibited substances, like marijuana or heroin. Can the police charge you with a crime because you have recently taken a prescription drug before driving?
Yes, prescriptions can affect your driving ability
Even if you have the right to use a controlled substance thanks to a prescription from your doctor, you still have to follow the law. If your doctor or the paperwork for the prescription medication provides a warning that you should not drive after taking the drug or that it could affect your cognition, motor skills or consciousness, you should not drive after taking the medication.
Although you may feel perfectly in control, police officers may question whether you are in any condition to be behind the wheel. Given that there may be no established legal limit for a given prescription medication, the presence of a prescription drug in your bloodstream could be enough to lead to a DUI charge, even though you felt perfectly capable of driving.
Certain medications, like prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants, are more likely to trigger concern in law enforcement than other medications. However, any drug that affects your ability to drive in even minor ways could lead to your arrest and prosecution. Understanding the mistakes that might lead to impaired driving charges can help you avoid a criminal record and preserve your driving privileges.